How Will Actors Strike Impact Unscripted Series Such As ‘The Voice’, ‘Dancing With The Stars’ & ‘The Masked Singer’?

Thousands of actors have been walking the picket lines across LA and New York today and it’s clear that the SAG-AFTRA strike against the studios is going to continue to wreak havoc on scripted television.

But many of these faces are also now in charge of hosting, exec producing and competing in unscripted series for the broadcast networks, leading to the question of whether shows such as The Voice, Dancing with the Stars and The Masked Singer will be impacted by the strike.

It led network execs, producers and agents to scramble yesterday, making frantic phone calls to talent and figuring out the landscape as it pertains to the walkout.

Related Stories


Derek Hough Now Holds Title For Most Emmy Nominations For Choreography

Breaking News

'Vanderpump Rules' Star Ariana Madix To Compete On 'Dancing With The Stars' This Fall

The short answer, it seems, is that the majority of these shows, which make up the bulk of the fall schedules, will still be able to go ahead with production, thanks to a different contract set up.  

Variety shows, reality series and game shows are covered under the SAG-AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting, which is better known as Network Code. It is separate to the film and TV collective bargaining agreement that SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP had been negotiating and is between the guild and the Big 4 broadcast networks as well as other producers. It is the same rule that applies to daytime soaps and morning shows.  

The move means that the networks, which saw their scripted slates decimated, initially by the writers strike, will be able to plough ahead with production on unscripted titles.

For instance, it means that NBC will be able to go ahead with new seasons of America’s Got Talent, which is filming in mid-August, and The Voice, which starts filming season 25’s blind auditions later this month and season 24’s battles at the end of next month, despite the fact that actors such as Terry Crews, Sofia Vergara and Reba McEntire are involved.

ABC is confident that it will be able to continue with shows such as Dancing with the Stars, Celebrity Jeopardy! and Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, which are now the lynchpins of the fall schedule.

Fox will also be able to be able to produce series such as The Masked Singer’s tenth season later this month and new game show Snake Oil, which is shooting in Georgia with actor David Spade as host.

Deadline understands that the networks are operating on a case-by-case basis and insiders admit that there may need to be some modifications to certain shows. There may be competition shows that may need to lean into athletes and musicians, rather than actors, for their contestants as some actors drop out.

There may also be some actors, a number of which are also WGA members, that feel uncomfortable continuing to work while their peers walk the picket lines. “It’s all about optics,” said one source.

This has been exemplified by the fact that A-list stars have entered the genre with the likes of Jamie Foxx hosting shows like We Are Family and Beat Shazam for Fox, Glee star Jane Lynch fronting the reboot of The Weakest Link, which has finished production alongside NBC counterpart The Wall, and Dwayne Johnson having hosted NBC’s The Titan Games.

“So far, the strike hasn’t affected unscripted but what we can’t predict is whether or not some SAG-AFTRA members will strike in solidarity. I sure hope not but it’s early. We’re holding our breath,” said one high-level unscripted exec.

The good news comes as unscripted is set to take center stage for the broadcast networks for the foreseeable future.

CBS, for instance, has been stocking up on reality shows as a strike contingency. President and CEO George Cheeks told Deadline recently that it has “about four or five reality shows that we’re getting ready and we might do more”.

Coming up, it has Lotería Loca, a Mexican bingo-style game show hosted and exec produced by Jane The Virgin star Jaime Camil, as well as a reality remake of Josh Duhamel’s Buddy Games and recently ordered a U.S. version of Israeli format Raid The Cage.

The network’s fall bankers – Survivor, which just earned its first main Emmy nom in a number of years, and The Amazing Race – are produced well ahead of schedule given their international nature and are not affected.

Its daytime game show The Price Is Right, hosted by Drew Carey, who has been picking up the tab for writers’ meals at Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank and Swingers in Hollywood, meanwhile, returns to production in August.

There are some exceptions; Deadline revealed in May that Jimmy Fallon’s Password paused production on its second season for NBC as a result of the writers strike and Mayim Bialik pulled out of hosting the final week of season 39 of Jeopardy! as a result of the WGA strike, albeit with Ken Jennings still willing to host. The game show returns to production in August.

It comes at an interesting time for the unscripted market; layoffs and cost-cutting has hit producers in much the same way as the scripted universe, and many have told Deadline about the difficulties of getting greenlights this year.

One producer told Deadline that the fact that the Network Code means unscripted shows can continue in production, was a “silver lining” at a time of “huge uncertainty” in Hollywood.

Lynette Rice contributed to this report.

Must Read Stories

And It Begins: SAG-AFTRA Members Take To The Streets In Los Angeles & New York

All The Latest As SAG-AFTRA Heads To Studios For Day 1 While WGA Pickets Continue

Tom Cruise Action Sequel Scores 23M+ Domestic & $64M Worldwide In First Two Days

A Look Back At Tom Cruise’s Singular Movie Career: Deadline’s How They Reached The Top

Read More About:

Source: Read Full Article